5306File - Security
- Jun 1, 2009EARS AND EYES EVERYWHERE
DEALING WITH INTERROGATION
WHEN AN AGENT KNOCKS
As the campaign to close HLS heats up, so do the efforts of police, the courts, and our government at suppressing that activity. And just as in our campaign, knowledge is power for those who are trying to stifle our movement. Below are some pointers for keeping that information out of the hands of the �authorities.� They are looking for any information they can obtain about us. That is why even if you are not involved in underground activity, it is important to adopt a security culture.
EARS AND EYES EVERYWHERE
Never say anything over the phone, email, or in your house or car that you wouldn�t want the authorities to hear. If you need to discuss sensitive information, do it in a remote location. Burn anything with sensitive information on it � you never know whose hands it may fall into. Visit www.pgp.com and download an email encryption program to protect your email conversations. [Note PGP precautions in the �Illegal Activity� section below.] If sending emails or making phone calls to a campaign target repeatedly, or of a nature wherein you�d rather not reveal your identity, set up a different email account and use a pay phone or disposable cell phone. Be wary of callers you don�t know. Process servers may call posing as telemarketers, your utility company, etc. By confirming where you live they can easily serve you with deposition requests, lawsuits, and other court papers. Don�t talk candidly with anyone you don�t know well and be wary of newcomers who have many questions about your or other activists� involvement�feel free to tell them you�re not comfortable talking about personal details. And don�t gossip. Infiltrators are known to fabricate or capitalize on gossip in order to disrupt a group.
DEALING WITH INTERROGATION
If you are arrested - and only if you are arrested - you are required to give your name and address and nothing else! However you may be questioned as investigators try to get more information out of you. While this can seem frightening, a simple mantra can make it less intimidating: NO COMMENT. You are not required to talk to FBI agents, police or other investigators and anything you say can and will be used against you. Furthermore, it is a crime to lie to a federal investigator. It is best to say nothing. Police and investigators are highly trained at getting people to talk and tripping those up who are lying to them. They will say anything to start you talking� We�re just trying to help you; My daughter is a vegetarian; You don�t want to ruin your life do you?; We already have all the evidence we need, just talk and we�ll go easy on you; Talk now or we�ll come back with a subpoena; We�re not after you, we�re after so-n-so; and they will play Good Cop/Bad Cop. These are empty threats to start you talking. If they had all the information they needed to convict or subpoena you or other activists, they wouldn�t work so hard getting you to talk! �and they�ll do anything to keep you talking. Many interrogations are fishing expeditions, and agents are looking for any information you might drop. They will discuss unrelated things to get you talking, hoping you�ll drop seemingly harmless information like the names of other activists, etc. And the more you give them, the more questions they will ask. You have the right to remain silent; use it!
WHEN AN AGENT KNOCKS
Though less common, be prepared if authorities visit your home. You do not have to let them into your house unless they have a warrant. Tell them to leave and slam the door in their faces! If they do present a warrant, you are not required to tell them anything except your name and address; beyond that remember: NO COMMENT. Write down their names, agency, and badge numbers. Take photos and video, and/or take written notes of what they do. Have visitors announce themselves before coming over. Don�t open the door if you don�t know who it is. Process servers will often come to your home to serve you or a housemate with legal papers. You don�t need to tell process servers who you are, who or where your housemates are, or anything else!
If you are involved in illegal activity, all of the above guidelines become that much more important. NEVER discuss illegal activity indoors, over the phone, or email � not even PGP! PGP is helpful in keeping our day to day organizing and personal discussions more secure, but it is unwise to assume it is foolproof.
Keep the discussion of illegal activity on a need to know basis only. This means working only with people you know and trust and discussing your action with the people you are carrying it out with and no one else! Never speak of anyone�s involvement in illegal activity. Do not speculate about who has committed illegal actions. Doing either puts the people committing the action and anyone who learns of it at risk. (Only if someone has been convicted of an action is it acceptable to discuss that persons, and only that person�s, involvement in that specific action only!)
If you are subjected to activist repression via interrogations, searches, harassment, being served legal papers, etc., tell people about it! The authorities want nothing more than for you to feel alone and afraid so as to take advantage of your vulnerability. Thankfully your fellow activists are here to support you and make sure that doesn�t happen! You may contact SHAC for support at shacusa@...
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